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MODIS Collection 6 shortwave-derived cloud phase classification algorithm and comparisons with CALIOP

Abstract : Cloud thermodynamic phase (ice, liquid, undetermined) classification is an important first step for cloud retrievals from passive sensors such as MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer). Because ice and liquid phase clouds have very different scattering and absorbing properties, an incorrect cloud phase decision can lead to substantial errors in the cloud optical and microphysical property products such as cloud optical thickness or effective particle radius. Furthermore, it is well established that ice and liquid clouds have different impacts on the Earth's energy budget and hydrological cycle, thus accurately monitoring the spatial and temporal distribution of these clouds is of continued importance. For MODIS Collection 6 (C6), the shortwave-derived cloud thermodynamic phase algorithm used by the optical and microphysical property retrievals has been completely rewritten to improve the phase discrimination skill for a variety of cloudy scenes (e.g., thin/thick clouds, over ocean/land/desert/snow/ice surface, etc). To evaluate the performance of the C6 cloud phase algorithm, extensive granule-level and global comparisons have been conducted against the heritage C5 algorithm and CALIOP. A wholesale improvement is seen for C6 compared to C5.
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Benjamin Marchant, Steven Platnick, Kerry Meyer, G. Thomas Arnold, Jérôme Riedi. MODIS Collection 6 shortwave-derived cloud phase classification algorithm and comparisons with CALIOP. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, European Geosciences Union, 2016, 9, pp.1587-1599. ⟨10.5194/amt-9-1587-2016⟩. ⟨insu-03686211⟩



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